Social media

Social media posts about voter fraud still prevalent, study finds

Placeholder while loading article actions

Welcome to The Technology 202! We hope you enjoyed the break as much as my puppy enjoyed his first swim in the ocean. I will interview the head of the NTIA Alan Davidson about everything related to internet access for an event this Sunday. Do you have questions you would like answered? Send them to me: [email protected]

Below: An FTC commissioner plans to resign and a semiconductor giant announces billions of dollars for new chip installations in the US – pending new subsidies. First:

Social media posts about voter fraud still prevalent, study finds

As President donald trump fueled baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud ahead of the 2020 election, tech companies have put in place a slew of rules to crack down on lies.

But nearly two years after the 2020 vote, social media posts citing false claims that the tally was rigged or stolen are still prevalent on major platforms including Facebook, Twitter and TikTok, according to a report shared exclusively. with The Technology 202.

The findings underscore that tech companies are still grappling with a flood of baseless allegations about voter fraud in 2020, even as the 2022 midterm elections rapidly approach.

A report by Advance Democracy, a nonprofit that studies disinformation, found that Trump-backed candidates and those associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory have posted about voter fraud hundreds of times on Facebook and Twitter, drawing hundreds of thousands of interactions and retweets.

On TikTok, six hashtags promoting conspiracy theories about the rigged or stolen 2020 tally garnered more than 38 million views in July. According to researchers, two of the most popular refer to a documentary by a conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza that fact checkers have found makes it misleading and unfounded allegations of electoral fraud.

“Our democracy is based on acceptance of legitimate election results and respect for the peaceful transition of power,” said Daniel Jones, president of Advance Democracy. “But months before the midterm elections and years before the next presidential election, the trend lines are clear.”

In response to the report, TikTok said it was blocking users from searching for several of the hashtags, including those referencing the D’Souza documentary.

“TikTok prohibits election misinformation, including claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent, and works with independent fact-checking organizations that help assess content so violations of our Community Guidelines can be promptly removed” , spokesperson for TikTok Ben Rathe said in a statement.

Twitter Spokesperson Madeleine Broas said in a statement that the company’s priority remains “to ensure that Twitter users have access to reliable and credible information about elections and civic processes” and that it “is taking steps to limit the dissemination and visibility of misleading information”.

Facebook Spokesperson Erin McPike responded to a request for comment referring to the company’s community guidelines. Facebook deploys third-party fact-checkers to check for misleading content, but exempts politicians and says it bans accounts”representing“QAnon.

The researchers say the findings highlight how baseless claims have become a regular part of online messaging for many conservative and far-right candidates.

According to the report, several key narratives have emerged alongside these claims. ‘Republicans in name only’ have been ‘constantly criticized for allowing the theft of the 2020 election’, researchers say, and some users have used ‘violent speech’ and suggested Republican officials are ‘treasonous criminals’ who “belong to the prison”. The candidates also promoted narratives that the 2022 midterm elections and the 2024 presidential election “would be fraudulent”.

“A significant percentage of right-wing political leaders, as well as key figures on right-wing television networks and social media platforms, continue to promote baseless election narratives that undermine trust in our democracy,” Jones said.

The trend poses a massive test for social media platforms, many of which have policies that allow posts from politicians and candidates for public office who would otherwise break their rules to remain in place to allow the public to still see their comments. It will also test whether companies enforce rules against baseless voter complaints about past and future elections, which they have sometimes refused to do.

The report found that more than 1 in 8 posts on Twitter and about 1 in 12 posts on Facebook’s public pages regarding the US election referred to voter fraud.

For the study, researchers examined public posts on Facebook and Twitter referencing the US election for mentions of terms such as “rigged” or “stolen”. It’s unclear how many of the posts expressed support for the fraud allegations, and how many merely referenced them, such as reporting on officials’ efforts to nullify the election.

But several of the posts that received the most interactions on Facebook and retweets on Twitter perpetuated baseless allegations of election rigging, including a tweet alleging that there had been “multiple crimes surrounding the trafficking of large-scale ballots” committed in 2020. This message, by a conservative activist Charlie Kirk, has over 56,000 likes and 20,000 retweets.

Numerous campaign messages from Trump-endorsed candidates and those who expressed support for or invoked the QAnon conspiracy theory perpetuated the fraud allegations, the researchers found. The report looked at Twitter and Facebook posts in May and June this year, while the TikTok analysis looked at views up to July 15.

Republican FTC commissioner plans to step down this year

Noah Phillipsa federal trade commissioner since 2018, told commission staffers on Monday that he planned to leave the FTC, Politico’s Josh Sisco reports. Phillips plans to step down in the fall and attributed his departure at least in part to a lack of compromise on the five-member commission, Sisco reports.

Committee Democrats have a 3-2 majority and FTC Chairman Lina Khan signaled that it plans to aggressively pursue antitrust cases. But partisan divisions and declining morale among its workforce have posed challenges for the 107-year-old agency.

“Once his spot is freed up, there could be intense jockeys for his replacement,” Sisco writes. “The president generally defers to the opposing party in the Senate when appointing minority commissioners to independent agencies. But as Congress heads into a heated midterm election and faces bipartisan pressure for antitrust reform, the nomination could be a divisive choice.

Cryptocurrency industry sees wave of friendly legislation amid lousy summer

In recent weeks, lawmakers have proposed shifting oversight of the sector to the industry’s preferred regulator, exempting the cryptocurrency from capital gains taxes if used for everyday purchases and limiting requirements tax declaration, Curator Newmyer reports. The developments come amidst a pile of layoffshacks and collapsing projects.

“The growing pile of legislative proposals is a signal that Washington is taking crypto seriously, and that’s a good thing for all parties,” said Sheila Warrenmanaging director of the Crypto Council for Innovation, an industry trade group.

The cryptocurrency industry is shelling out millions of dollars in lobbying and political contributions. The industry has spent nearly $9 million on federal lobbying so far this year and has given federal candidates more than $61 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Most of the campaign contributions came from executives at Bahamas-headquartered crypto exchange FTX.

Semiconductor giant Micron announces $40 billion for new US facilities

The Boise, Idaho-based company joins a slate of projects seeking a portion of the $52 billion in grants in the Chips and Science Act, which President Biden plans to sign into law today, Jeanne Whalen reports. Micron’s investment is contingent on the company securing some of these grants, the chief executive said. Sanjay Mehrotra said.

“This legislation allows us to make investments that we otherwise wouldn’t have made in the United States,” Mehrotra said. The Flea and Science Act overcame misfires in the Senate, where it passed with bipartisan support last month.

Micron’s project joins similar plans from other chipmakers such as Intel, TSMC and Samsung. All are applying for federal grants.

Amazon’s $1.7 billion deal to buy Roomba robot vacuum maker iRobot last week was met with a mix of pessimism, alarm, understatement and sarcasm. CEO of Google Rob Leathern:

TikTok moderators are trained using graphic images of child sexual abuse (Forbes)

California DMV accuses Tesla of deceptive practices in marketing Autopilot and full self-driving options (CNBC)

Musk says Twitter deal should go ahead if he provides proof of real accounts (Reuters)

Antitrust bill targeting Big Tech in limbo as Congress prepares to suspend (Wall Street Journal)

Meta halts purchase of ‘Supernatural’ developer as FTC lawsuit continues (Bloomberg)

Twitter fixes bug that exposed at least 5.4 million accounts (TechCrunch)

Brandon returns, grimly: Democrats turn slur into pro-Biden meme (Matt Viser)

That’s all for today — thank you so much for joining us! Be sure to tell others to subscribe to The Technology 202 here. Get in touch with advice, comments or greetings on Twitter or email.